SALT LAKE CITY — For the fourth year running, Walla Walla High School’s JROTC Precision Rifle Team captured the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Western Regional Rifle Championship here from March 31-April 2
Team members Cadet Major Sabrina Keenan, Cadet Staff Sergeant Daniel Enger, Cadet Major Evan Jameson and Cadet Sergeant First Class Annalise Juergensen set a new Wa-Hi two-day record at the event hosting the 13 top junior precision rifle teams and eight top sporter teams in the Western United States.
“Every year the competition gets stiffer here,” said Wa-Hi rifle coach Mark Mebes after the match. “But our team is just coming out of the national ROTC season and they were in fighting shape.”
“We managed to get everyone on the same sheet of music for both days of the match,” said team captain Sabrina Keenan. “We finally shot the kind of score we knew we have been capable of shooting all year. It felt really good for the whole team to come here and do really well.”
The match began with the team arriving late afternoon on April 1 after a transportation hiccup delayed its travel by a full day. Normally, teams will have a day to test and fine tune their rifles and gear before the match starts.
“We didn’t make it to the range in time for our practice relay,” Mebes said. “We arrived just in time to have all of our equipment inspected and certified before they closed down the range.
“We went into the first day of the competition crossing our fingers and hoping that everything was working correctly.”
Undaunted by the challenge, the Blue Devils emerged from the first day of competition with a score of 2,338 out of 2,400, with Enger in second place individually with a 589 and Keenan in third with a 588.
On the second day of the match, Wa-Hi finished with a 2,339 for a two-day total score of 4,677, besting the Texas Hill County Shooting Club by 27 points.
Enger and Keenan ended the day in a virtual tie, both shooting a 592 and still holding second and third place, respectively.
To put that score in perspective, Wa-Hi’s precision rifle squad was 97.5 percent accurate to a pin-hole sized 10 ring for 480 shots over nearly six hours of shooting from three prone, standing and kneeling positions at the two day event.
The match concluded with a final, consisting of the top eight shooters in the match squaring off for 10 shots to determine final medal placement and honors.
Enger began the final in second place, four points behind Texas Hill County’s Kristen Hemphill, with Keenan in third by a single point.
For eight shots, Enger and Keenan traded spots until an eight sent Enger behind by a full point and unable to regain his position.
The day concluded with Hemphill retaining the first position, Keenan with the silver medal and Enger with bronze.
In the sporter category, the Blue Devil team, consisting of Cadet Major Zachary Cobb, Cadet First Sergeant Sammantha Scott, Cadet Lieutenant Spencer Carlyle and Cadet Staff Sergeant Michael Lemons, managed a two-day score of 4,052, putting them in seventh place at the end of the competition.
Cobb’s score of 539 the first day and 538 the second day placed him in the sporter final, where he emerged in sixth place.
“Cobb had the two best days of his shooting career,” Mebes said. “With his score from the final added to his total, he is sitting with a 1,155.6 for national qualification. We will have to see how his score stacks up against the other shooters at regional matches. He may qualify individually for the CMP National Championship match this summer.”
The Blue Devil precision team, however, will not have to wait for the other regional matches to conclude for their seat at the national match.
“With a 4,677, we are assured a spot,” said Mebes “We will begin training for the CMP National Championships as soon as we get home from Utah.”
The CMP Nationals are held concurrently with the Junior Olympic 3 Position Nationals, both matches hosted this year in Camp Perry, Ohio, in June and July.
This will be Wa-Hi’s fifth consecutive appearance at the event.
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, 13 April, 2016